Wednesday, March 1, 2017

News and Things: February Favorites

Every time I try to think about how quickly February went by, I have to remind myself it's only 28 days long. Then again, I feel like a lot happened, too!

On the career front, I was asked to join a research team by a past professor of mine, and am talking with an organization I worked with in high school on whether I want a temporary position there. On the personal front, I celebrated my sister's birthday, and added some cool new items to my wardrobe after a very successful day of thrifting. I went to World Market for the first time - game changer! - and loved the drama from every single awards show this season. I finally went to the doctor and figured out that I have had a sinus infection since about December that just has never gotten cleared up, and now I'm stuck on a regimen of choking down the biggest antibiotics I've ever seen twice a day.

So, you know, this month has been a fairly decent one to me.

And, of course - just like last month - there's been a lot of News. There's been a lot of Things. Which means, of course, that it's time to recap them all in my still-relatively-new monthly segment, "News and Things"!

1. Kind of from the end of last month, but still jaw-dropping enough that it's worth a read today: the secret, weird lives of ultra-rich doomsday-preppers. AKA, how the 1% is preparing to watch the world burn!

2. In your favorite "Why is this a thing?" and "Why does it make so happy this is a thing?" news, Internet sensation erotica author Chuck Tingle rides again... this time, for the ACLU! (Will you be adding it to your TBR?)

3. It's not just fake news that provides the divide between how Red and Blue voters use Facebook, which is why the Wall Street Journal generated this side-by-side comparison of two feeds, in order to show just how large that divide has grown, and what kind of topics show the most difference.

4. In the book-bloggosphere, it's easy to get caught up in things like read-a-thons, Goodreads Challenges, and all-too-large TBR piles... to the point where sometimes, you just kind of forget that there's other ways to read, too. One of my all-time favorite fashion and lifestyle bloggers - Emily from Cupcakes and Cashmere - posted about her own relaxed reading philosophies.

5. As someone who chronically spends significant amounts of time by herself, at home, from about 8am to 5pm, this satirical bit from The New Yorker totally slayed me.

6. Back on the topic of news literacy, here's how Seattle librarians are leading the charge to raise a generation of information-minded kids, in pursuit of knowledge beyond Facebook-shared headlines.

7. In "feminist stuff you never knew you needed to read until now" news, The Hairpin describes what happened when Molly Caro May and her husband decide to give their daughter her last name, instead of his. (Here's a hint: it's not the husband who gets upset.)

8. Do the proposed arts and culture cuts to the national budget leave you steaming? Or do you feel vindicated in your own beliefs about what deserves federal funding? Either way, watch this video, about how easy it is to contribue to federally-funded platforms that provide vital arts and community support, as well as how little impact their funding actually has on federal resources.

1. I'm not a huge wall decorator, but I've recently become enamored with the letterpress postcard quotes from the talented designers of the Dead Feminists book. I have three separate, small pieces of this distinctive artwork posted up various places around my room, representing not just three inspirational women, but beautiful artwork to match their sentiment.

2. After my dedicated collegiate laptop, my Ol' Trusty Toshiba, started to look a lot worse for wear - like, only-one-bit-still-hanging-on-to-the-screen worse for wear - this past Fall, I decided I needed a new one. And yet, it still took me until February to take the plunge. Now, I couldn't be happier with my new HP Envy!

3. You know it's a thing, when even you and the Target checkout lady can't stop gabbing excitedly about the presence of these fantastic snacks in your cart! Made from only a handful of all-natural ingredients, Larabar Bites - especially in the flavors Coconut Macaroon and Cherry Chocolate - have been omnipresent in my snacking habits all month.

4. I came for the packaging, and stayed for the insanely smooth, soft results: Lano lanolin lip balm is not just a fad, you guys! Far denser and creamier than any treatment you've ever tried, this lip balm requires very little use for a whole lot of impact.

5. Everything is still awesome in the happy land of yellow figurines, with The Lego Batman Movie! I was skeptical about how the team behind the franchise would be able to follow up the unexpected genius of the first film, but this stellar sequel caught me completely by surprise, once again! Not only does this diminutive version of the caped crusader add street cred to the pantheon of Batman films, but also models emotional vulnerability and healthy communication in a way kids can understand.

6. You guys, I have a problem: I just can't stop buying new stickers from Redbubble! Each of my siblings got a sticker to match their interests this Valentine's Day, and I was shocked at how wide a selection there was to choose from for each. You really can find something for everyone there... which is why I keep finding so many things I like, too!

7. It's a head-to-head smack down of the best-of-the-best, with SyFy's Face Off special effects makeup reality competition returning for another season; this time, a battle royale between some of the best finalists across the seasons! My favorites to win are Cig and George, but then again, they were some of my favorites their own season, too.

8. It's been pretty gloomy outside, here in Washington State - hold your '90s era Rainy City jokes, please - but the weather's much better indoors: I've been obsessed with Lush's "It's Raining Men" shower gel since the second I smelled it's hint-of-honey scent. It's almost enough to make you forget the fog!

What are some of the News and Things you've been enjoying this month? Are you partial to any of the ones included here? Let me know, in the comments below!

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